Monday, October 4, 2010

Results of the Contemporary Mosaic Association Competition



When I set this topic I knew that it would be more difficult than usual. I wasn’t surprised therefore to see that the number of entries were fewer than in previous competitions.

I have no regrets and make no apologies however - because as the word ‘challenge’ suggests - I want to keep ‘upping the ante’ in order to stretch CMA members.

My hope is that you may produce work that you may not otherwise have considered and to go down avenues that are off your usual chosen path.

I feel that whilst the QUANTITY of mosaics produced this time was down - the QUALITY certainly WASN’T and that the body of work that you see below contains some of the best mosaics that have ever been produced for these challenges.

I am therefore proud to announce the winners below and look forward with eager anticipation in the hope that more of you will rise to the NEXT challenge!

For this competition, I have asked Jane Denison to co-judge some of the works. Jane is currently studying art history at University of Queensland.

Martin Cheek October 2010

Dana Teturova
Title: Flowers
Size; 31x44 cm
Material: Smalti
Completed: August, 8, 2010


MC: This mosaic perfectly answers the brief. Dana’s work is always so romantic and poetic and this piece is no exception.
This is also SO clever and well constructed -the fact that the ENTIRE face is made up of the flowers and butterfly is inspired and worthy of the great showman Dali himself!
I know I keep saying this - but look how impossible it is to see BOTH at once - even when you have familiarised yourself with both identities.
This face has a beautiful luminosity and radiance to it. The lips / flower are so delicately handled and the nose / butterfly is skilfully understated.
Congratulations Dana!

JD: Although Martin observes the impossibility for us to see both images simultaneously, I love the ease with which we go from seeing the work as either a lady’s face or blooming spring flowers. This “easiness” results from the harmony within the colours that encourages our eyes to circulate around the image rather than settling on any particular part. Another factor attributing to the ease in reading both images is that if we follow the lady’s down-turned gaze towards the bottom right-hand flower, we automatically begin to see the entire image as a field of flowers.
Congratulations Dana.

Mel Miller
The Lord's Army
materials used: Venetian Smalti, Gold and copper smalti, cut Moretti glass rods, coloured mirror glass, millefiore, and marble tesserae
Size: 32 X 45 cm. (13 X 18 inches)
Completion Date: July 2010
From my brother's photograph. Rebel soldier from 'The Lord's Army'. Camouflage within Camouflage. The delicate child bracelet in tender sensitive colors, juxtaposed on the dark arm, cradling metallic weaponry, surrounded by harsh jungle camouflage fatigues, may be the only expression or hint of this soldier's humanity.

MC: When I set this challenge, I thought it would be a lot of fun for those taking part and was expecting to see lots of wacky cartoony chameleons frolicking about catching unsuspected flies. I was forgetting though that camouflage can also be used in a more serious context - that of war. How appropriate then, that Mel should remind us of that fact with this powerful yet tender mosaic?!

JD: Sometimes an image speaks more than words. In this mosaic, a camouflaged soldier lies in forest foliage almost invisible to the world. The strong diagonal lines running through the work lead our eye to the work’s focal point - the colourful, yet poignant, child’s bracelet.

Initially, I thought this was an ambitious subject to tackle in the mosaic medium and I wondered how this mosaic differs from the original photograph. Undoubtedly, a photograph would objectively document the pathosof the scene. However, as a mosaic, the scene becomes incredibly intimate and we can almost smell the damp foliage in the forest. I also like how the different textures of the tesserae allude to the unresolved and disjointed nature of war. The result is a wonderfully executed work demonstrating the unique qualities mosaic art brings to the contemporary art scene.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's been some time since my last blog entry. But I'm back. To announce a couple of things.
Firstly, my website went live today. And tho it's not yet complete, as there's lots to do still in the Gallery, it's live at last.

So take a look......
Let me know what you think.

Secondly, Luc just built a most amazing frame for the Horse Head Nebula mosaic that you all watched growing in Italy. It's a stunning wood black frame which lies flush with the mosaic. Just like they use at Orsoni. I know they won't mind me stealing the idea, because it really really suits the work. So I posted a pic at an angle so you can get the gist.

Thirdly, there's a new little baby mosaic to see. She's an Autumn Leaf Fairy, and the title is, 'I feel sad when Summer ends.'

I'll be back more often, as my website is now linked to this blog, and I'm working furiously for an exhibition for later this year.

Till later........

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Fat Lady is Singing

Anyway, the Fat Lady is Singing folks.

And we all know what that means.

It's all over.

A sweet and quiet weekend spent working on the endings.
Three of us were left in the Guest House and studio. We worked lots, but I also went out for a couple of delightful walks.

In the end, Nancy and Gerard left mid-afternoon. I cleverly went walking at the same time. All the way to Rialto bridge. Venice has an atmosphere which is intoxicating. What is it??

I loved being out in the streets. In the throngs of people. Looking at the shops. If you want an admission, here it is.... I love shopping. Okay, it's out.

Only reason I didn't buy shoes is because I just don't have any space or weight allocation for shoes. (some of you know my new relationship with shoes ) Too much glass crammed into my bag. But I found lots and lots of tiny little wonderful things to buy. I bought myself a warm purple hat, with flowers on. Crazy. But it will always remind me of Venice. And lots of other things, which I can't reveal in case it blows the surprise for the people who're getting presents. Lucky things.
I love surprises.

Okay, that's it for now.
The studio is empty. See the pic.
Venice said arrivederci to me in the most beautiful way this evening. The light was gorgeous. Thank you Venice.
Thank you Orsoni and all the wonderful people here.
Thank you to myself for being so brilliant and getting myself here.
Thank you to all those who support my brilliant ideas in all the ways they do.

My 2nd mosaic is not yet complete as you can see. I've taken all the materials I need to complete it and will work on it in Holland over the next 2 weeks. Will post some pics when it's done.

Thanks for following me.



Friday, January 29, 2010

Orsoni Day 12

1. The Maestro, Mel and Antonelle
2. Dominique and her Picasso
3. Nancy and Tibetan prayer flags
4. Gerard with his stunning gold Christ piece. G aspires to working in the Vatican Mosaic studio
5. The street where I live.

A chaotic strange day.

The Maestro came for the presentation of certificates. See pics.
I'm surprised to say, I felt a bit emotional holding the paper that says I have a Master in Mosaic from Orsoni's Bottega (no English word for that, it's like the 'House of the Artist/Craftsman).
I'll probably frame it..... (blush)

I didn't get much work done. People coming in and out of the studio. Ordering bits and pieces to take home. Discussing some future planned mosaic work with Antonelle and how to go about them. Invaluable help in particular with a piece I've started several times and discarded as many.

A lunch, solo in the little restaurant down the canal. A bit like being in my very own version of a Fellini movie. Seated at a table with 5 workmen all rattling at high volume in Italian while eating wonderful food and consuming copious quantities of on-tap red wine. Love it!

Then the rushed farewells in the afternoon. Dominique left for Belguim. The teachers left.

Nancy, Gerard (Swiss) and myself are left for the weekend. All working to finish off the pieces we've been working on.

I've not yet quite understood this next little phase. Nor quite processed the completion of the course So I'm just saying to myself, "Hey, I'm in Venice for a whole weekend. Brilliant!!"
Except of course for the not so little Venetian belly which I've grown thanks to all the Italian bread and pastries I've consumed the past 2 weeks. I need the gym.

Till later.........

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Orsoni Day 11

1. My mosaic, tonight.
2. Fur coats. Outside the train station.
3. I succumbed. Dark chocolate. Uff! Italian icecream
4. You see! Fur coat.
5. Do you believe me?
6. The exit from our little lane onto the canal. Love it.
7. Antonelle's studio. I want one just like this. She showed us how to cook glue.

I think everyone is starting to experience separation anxiety.
A strange sadness and distance is creeping in.
Tomorrow is our last day in class. Although 3 of us are staying on for the weekend, and will be working in the studio, the course is actually ending tomorrow.
I don't want it to end.
It's been one of those experiences that one never wants to end.
Like falling in love.

I don't care about the certificate ceremony tomorrow. I want to be Italian. I want to live in the glass factory. I want to marry all the colours. And have babies with Gold. I want to meditate in front of the furnace and watch the birth of Galaxies in the molten glass. I want to be one of the powerful people who lean their weight into the giant metal bars and stir the fiery liquid in the crucibles.
And I want to spend every day cutting glass into fragments and building new worlds out of the broken pieces.

I've loved being a student. (And I've loved the luxurious parts of being a student here). I relish my own room, the space, my shiny white bathroom and the haphazard way I've run my meal times. Adrenaline has been my companion throughout, the early mornings, the late nights, the even later nights spent blogging and watching movies on my Apple in bed. All Wonderful.

My fantasy of wandering down the street in the chilly weather, wrapped up warmly, finding a tiny tratorria and reading my book while I eat delicious Italian fare has been lived out, and proven to be utterly divine.

It's been a great privilege to have Antonelle and Mirta around all day. Both in their own way contributing to this being an outstandingly successful learning experience.

I don't want to go home.
So I salute myself for booking my return flight to Holland on Monday rather than flying out straight after the course ends.
I need these extra days to wind down and prepare for moving back into the world.

Enjoy the fun pics from the day.
I'll be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Orsoni Day 10

1. Placing the last piece.
2. There she is. On the easel.
3. That's the fab restaurant. 2 people sitting outside.
4. Here we go again.
5. Same same, but different.

I've packed 3 quarters of my clothes into a box which I bought at the Post Office today. Most of them are dirty, and I have to say that I think this plan is a stroke of genius. I'm posting them to Holland where I'll be for 2 weeks when I leave Venice. I brought far too many clothes, and while I've enjoyed dressing up every morning, I spend most of the day in a dirty apron, so it's a bit of a waste. I think the box is weighing in at around 10kilograms (that's approx 22pounds in Americanese)

Does anyone guess where this is going yet?

Of course!
I'm freeing up space and weight in my suitcase so I can carry glass home. That was pretty obvious huh. And while I can live without my clothes for a week or two, I'm not sure that I can live without my glass. And this from a woman who's sporting a band-aid on every finger except for the pinky. Committed is what I am.

So, the wonderful moment arrived. I placed the last piece of smalti into my mosaic around 11am this morning. Mirta took the lovely shot of me doing it. Infact, I knew that later I'd have to correct a small section at the top of the piece, but it was wonderful to feel that finishing moment. So HorseHead Nebula spent most of the day displayed on the easel. Happy.

A huge sense of relief for me.

I decided to treat myself to a special lunch at the little local restaurant which the teachers took us to the first day of the course.

And what a gorgeous day in Venice today. Just stunning. Sunshine, not too cold, everything shining and just beautiful. Off I toddled to the post office to buy my box and then to the restaurant who's name I don't remember. It looks like nothing from the outside. Inside every table bar one was taken. It's small, very crowded with locals and extremely noisy. I took the free table. I thought Nancy might join me so I felt okay about taking a 4 seater alone.

After 5 minutes the waitress seated and elderly couple at my table. No problem.
They didn't speak English, we smiled at each other. I tried to restrain myself from stroking her fur. It's getting harder for me. I ordered the grilled chicken. It's time for some protein folks. I've been living on bread and pastry for a week and with no gym, dancing or mountain walks, well, you can just imagine what my waist line is looking like.

Anyway, I was half way through my chicken and vegetable ( brusselsprouts and peas which were cooked to destruction and then smothered in olive oil and tasted fantastic), when the last seat at my table was filled by a man.

He greeted me in English. Great! It's nice to be able to talk to the people you're eating with. So we chatted, and he asked me how I'd discovered the restaurant. He explained that it's really just for locals. Since it's on the 2nd biggest canal in Venice, many of the boat drivers and other work people come to eat here. It's like the 'Trucker's Diner', of Venice. But the food is delicious. And the man was too. An Italian mathematics lecturer at the university. In fact, he wasn't very good looking at all, (one of his eyes was, well..., not in the conversation at all). But what is it about that Italian accent. Sigh!

Lovely meeting. Great meal. Excellent conversation. Beautiful weather. Good to be out and about in Venice.

I've started on my second mosaic now. This is the terrestial part. You can see from the pic above. Earthy colours. It was taken by my darling friend Diana from Vancouver. She took it when we were in Egypt in 2008. Luxor to be precise. It's the most beautiful thing I saw in Egypt. And Diana captured it exquisitely. I loved this pic when I first saw it and asked her then if I could make a mosaic of it one day. Here goes Diana!

I went down to the gold cutting room where the colour samples are kept. I had to select the colours I need for this project. It's truly an amazing place this. The materials are superb. Choices, choices choices. Libran agony. I don't know how I'll live without all this glorious booty around me.

The new project is a big undertaking, but I'll be in Venice till Monday, and I'll be able to work on it all weekend. Although, since I finished the first one, I don't feel pressured anymore, and I know I can take materials home and finish it there.
And besides, I'm feeling a little seduced by Venice now. (About time!)

I went out this evening for a little walk, and to purchase a couple things I needed. All fell down in the nutrition department, and I supped on two Frettelles (yummy pastry thingys ) and a cup of tea. My 5 Roses are running low. Any chance someone can post me some? Just kidding. Everything's so perfect here, even the tea is good.

Enjoy the pics.
Thanks for all your wonderful comments and encouragement. I really appreciate it.
Don't stop.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Orsoni Day 9

Got to bed way too late and way too tired to write anything. But here's a latest pic of the Horse Head at midnight Tuesday night. I just couldn't see clearly enough to finish the last little bit. It will be finished today and a couple things changed before I start on my next work.
From Celestial, I'm going Terrestial.
Wait for it.